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Mother’s Day brunch: ‘Blueberry Breakfast Bar’ recipe

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This wonderful, simple recipe from Megan Gordon’s new book, Whole Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons (Ten Speed Press, 2014) is everything you love about a blueberry crisp – the buttery, nutty topping, and the flavor of fresh, sweet blueberries – only flat.

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That’s what makes it a bar, instead of a crisp.

Of course, if you wanted to make Mom a crisp, Whole Grain Mornings has got you covered there, too (‘Strawberry Oat Breakfast Crisp, page 66). In fact, as Gordon follows the seasons through her book, you’re all set with Saucy Tomato Poached Eggs, Zucchini Farro Cakes (with fried egg or herbed goat cheese and roasted tomatoes), roasted summer fruits, soufflés with fresh corn, and all the sorts of things that can make a breakfast or a brunch special.

It’s perfect for Mothers’ Day.

It’s also perfect for the day after Mother’s Day. Whole Grain Mornings because the recipes encompass the rich favors and textures of whole grains in the everyday foods that launch the day – a Five-Grain Porridge Mix and whole grain pancakes, nutty granolas and muesli, bowls of quinoa and barley, risottos and puddings – whipped up with the practical considerations of a home cook.

The recipes really are, as the title points out, “New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons.” They’re new in the sense that they incorporate a wide variety of new types of whole grains into breakfast foods – old favorites (pancakes, muffins, bars) and new staples (breakfast bowls, risottos, scrambles) – while keeping an eye on fresh, seasonal foods in local markets. A guide at the beginning of the book sorts the grains out for you and steers you toward the gluten-free grains, if that’s a dietary consideration. Many of the recipes are vegan -- or can be made vegan -- but eggs, bacon, butter and cheese show up at the table, too.

People don’t really have the time to sit down for a Betty Crocker breakfast anymore, but Whole Grain Mornings offers you the intimacy of something handmade and good to enjoy in that moment before you open the door and step out to take on the day. Follow Gordon's blog, "A Sweet Spoonful: Healthy Recipes from a Seattle Kitchen" for recipes and more information about the book.

Gordon calls these Blueberry Breakfast Bars from the book “the ultimate all-purpose breakfast bars.” If you can’t find rye flakes, she suggests rolled oats as a substitution, and, when blueberries are out of season, she recommends frozen berries. Reprinted with permission from Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013)

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST BARS

Makes 12 to 16 bars, depending on size

Blueberry Filling

  • 3 cups / 720 ml fresh blueberries or 1 (12-ounce / 350 g) package frozen blueberries, unthawed
  • 1⁄4 cup / 45 g natural cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon water

Whole Grain Crust

  • 1⁄2 cup / 50 g rolled oats
  • 1 cup / 100 g rye flakes
  • 3⁄4 cup / 60 g sliced raw almonds
  • 1⁄4 cup / 30 g raw sesame seeds
  • 1 cup / 120 g whole wheat flour
  • 1⁄2 cup / 75 g packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 8 tablespoons / 115 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Continue stirring until berries just begin to break down and the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. To prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the rolled oats, rye flakes, almonds, and sesame seeds just until they form a chunky, mealy texture, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder and pulse a time or two to combine. Add the egg and butter. Add ice water slowly and pulse until mixture just begins to clump together.
  4. To assemble and bake the bars: Press approximately half of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Pour the berry filling onto the crust and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining crust mixture across the top as you would for a fruit crisp or crumble—messy and haphazard, but evenly dispersed. Don’t worry about pressing down; it will bake into the bars beautifully.
  5. Bake until the top crumble is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan. Slice into bars. If wrapped and kept at room temperature, the bars will keep for 3 days.

Make It Your Own: Try these with your favorite seasonal berries. Blackberries or huckleberries would be lovely, as would cherries.

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